This email from the latest Wikileaks series on John Podesta includes a ranting memo by Obama's speechwriter Jon Favreau (Feb. 2016), in which he whines about Bernie's focus on class taking away from the identity politics that has been the Democrats' go-to red meat for at least a generation:
Far more effective has been what [Hillary has] been doing recently - saying that Bernie is a single issue voter and that there are a lot more issues at stake than Wall Street. This idea that class is the only divide and economic issues are all that matter is a very white male centric view of the world (a Bernie Bro view, if you will).
He doesn't really mean the "male" part -- it's just a standard cop-out buzzword that wasn't satisfied to just pile onto whites, why not add men too? Women are just as held down as men are by Wall Street dominating the economy, sending jobs overseas to boost corporate profits, and so on.
What he really means is class vs. race and ethnicity. Working-class people vote similarly, blacks vote similarly. But women do not vote similarly.
It also reminds me of the hilarious joke that Brian Buetler keeps making every time some asshole says something horribly racist about Obama or sexist about Hillary or prejudice about immigrants and Muslims - oh, let's not blame them, they're just economically anxious.
Here we see the "basket of deplorables" argument -- a patronizing view of people whose jobs have been sent overseas, and are duped into supporting someone like Trump. Also the dismissive tone toward class politics -- folks in the Rust Belt aren't living paycheck to paycheck, with no good jobs in sight. They're just economically anxious, another bullshit PC euphemism.
People are of course economically anxious, and Bernie is tapping into that very well. But that's only half the equation. They're also being told to blame other groups for all their problems - blacks, gays, immigrants, Muslims, women, political correctness, etc. Fighting that intolerance and divisiveness is just as important as fighting inequality - arguably more so in this election because Trump has made it the defining issue.
Who's blaming blacks, gays, and women for the de-industrialization of our economy and economic inequality? This is just kneejerk "intersectionality," where all identity politics topics are related to each other. In reality, Trump and Bernie only point to immigrants as a source of "economic anxiety" for Americans -- greater supply of labor, lower price of labor, lower wages and incomes.
Favreau is being a typical hysterical homosexual.
Still, that response does have an effect -- to make any discussion of class taboo because you won't only be seen as being skeptical of immigration, but of every kind of diversity -- racial, gender, sexuality, religious, whatever. Populism is racist, sexist, homophobic, etc.
And they're not so wrong, since you are trying to turn the focus away from identity politics and toward class. You aren't anti-black or anti-woman -- you simply don't think national policy has to worry about how racial minorities feel about their identity, or whether men make cat-calls to women wearing revealing clothing. What will the president possibly do to affect those matters? Nothing, but he will affect how much power Wall Street has, whether manufacturing industries stay here or go abroad, and so on.
Favreau says the Democrats have to sideline class matters because Trump has made race, ethnicity, gender, etc., so central -- and yet he's only talked about immigration, not how blacks are ruining society, how women belong in the kitchen, how gays should not allowed to be married, or whatever else. That would be someone more in the mold of Ted Cruz, culture warrior. But again, to the identity-obsessed, anything that is class-oriented must therefore be rabidly against all identity groups.
Too bad he read the mood wrong, which is about populism and the related topic of immigration, rather than about identity politics, only taking the pro-white pro-man pro-hetero side. By misreading the mood, he misreads the roots of Trump's popularity, and misreads how to counteract it -- with a populist of their own, not the most corrupt elitist Establishmentarian they could have possibly run.
His is not an uncommon mistake, and is the reason why the Trump movement has so effortlessly bulldozed through the Establishment of one party and soon the other, the media, and the donor class.
Pay better attention for next time, or you're done for good.